Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fracking Ban Will Benefit Denton's Economy

Here is this blog in meme form:


In June, the industry released a report (by the Perryman Group) about the costs of the fracking ban in Denton. I guess they figured that no one would actually read the report.
But I did. And I found out that the industry’s own numbers prove that the fracking ban will be a net positive for Denton’s economy.
Now, at first I just pointed out the fact that the report confirms fracking is a miniscule part of our economy, comprising a puny 0.2% of Denton’s gross product and 0.5% of tax revenues. And that's taking their own numbers at face value even though they are doubtlessly exaggerated in their black-boxed methodology.
But now we can add to that assessment by putting their report in the context of Denton’s overall land use and economy as detailed in the new Denton Plan 2030.
You see, the industry report only looked at the costs of the fracking ban. Of course, all decisions have costs. You’ve got to look at the benefits too and see if they outweigh the costs.
Kevin Roden has already made a strong qualitative case that the fracking ban will bring a boom for our economy.  
But now I can add a quantitative case. The ban will bring significant, measurable benefits for our economy.
All I had to do was look at the industry’s own numbers and ask how much gross product and tax revenue fracking generates on a per acre basis. Then I looked at the Denton Plan 2030 to see how that compares to other forms of development.
It turns out that fracking is an embarrassingly UNPRODUCTIVE use of land. Every time we allocate an acre of land to fracking rather than other land uses, we forego significant economic benefits.
Fracking generates about $55,000 in gross product per acre. Not bad. That is, until you compare it to the $114,000 generated by the average acre of land in Denton (over 10% of which is undeveloped).
Fracking generates about $1,100 in tax revenues per acre. By comparison, residential development generates about $4,300 in tax revenues per acre, and that’s assuming today’s median-priced homes. (The figure for commercial is $9,600 per acre.) Plus, homes appreciate in value over time, meaning more and more tax revenue, whereas frack sites depreciate over time (eventually leaving a devalued, blighted brown zone). Oh, and fracking fouls our air, contaminates our water, and devalues neighborhing properties.
It turns out that fracking is one of Denton's least productive land uses. I can’t thank the Perryman Group enough for showing us how much stronger our economy will be once we ban this economic under-performer!


  1. How can you claim Denton is losing property value even though all the statistics (including your own) say this isn't true? Again, give me one example of a house in Denton that sold for less because of fracking or has had it's appraised value lowered? Even Calvin Tillman's home in Dish sold in 2011 for $51,000 more than he paid for it in 2003!

    1. According to data from the Texas A&M Real Estate Center (, the median home price in Denton County rose about 25 percent since 2002 (2002 is often identified as the date Barnett Shale drilling began in earnest). During that same timeframe, the median home price in Dallas rose by approximately 28 percent. If you can provide one anecdote for your proof, then I will merely provide one data example. Both could be argued, but the fact is Dallas median home value in January 2002 was $140,700 and rose to $180,200 in January 2014. The median home value in Denton County in January 2002 was $148,200 and only rose to $185,400 by January 2014. Since drilling is not occurring in Dallas and Denton County bears a lot of the impact, then it’s safe to assume Denton homes are valued less because of fracking—not less than they were a decade ago, but less than they should be today.

    2. good response, thank you. plus the same relative value per acre remains the same - we make more money for our tax coffers and our economy when we build homes rather than frack sites.

  2. You need to compare the City of Denton values to the City of Dallas or Denton County to Dallas County. Denton County is obviously being dragged down by Northeast Denton county where don't get the benefit of increased mineral values when selling their homes!

    1. The comparison was made this way to account for approximately the same number of home sales. While nearly half a million more people call Dallas home than call Denton County home, the single-family home sales are close to equal. Dallas must have more apartments, condo, etc. than Denton County. Also, Dallas is obviously being dragged down by southeast Dallas. But, hey, maybe we should let the statistics speak without clouding the facts with our own biases.

  3. Can't you use the acre of land for other purposes IN ADDITION to fracking? Seems to me you can still use it for farming, cattle raising or commercial uses. If we are just trying to maximize tax dollars then why are people upset about Rayzor Ranch?

  4. You are focusing way too much on property taxes when saying it's better to build homes., when in truth, the largest source of tax revenue is from severance taxes. These severance taxes are based on production and amount to significantly more annually than property taxes ever will.

  5. And truthfully, every one of your links to support your position (air quality, water contamination, & real estate value) were weak and or contained biased flaws. They just as easily supported your opponents as they did your supporters. What you really need is better, unbiased reports to truly be able to evaluate those areas of concern.